John A. Butterfield House (No. 1461 National Register of Historic Places)
National Register of Historic Places
In 1966, the National Register of Historic Places was established by the National Historic preservation Act. The National Register is the nation’s official list of buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects important in American history, culture, architecture, engineering, or archaeology that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
To be placed on the National Register, properties must meet the specified criteria. Properties must meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered eligible for listing. The criteria for listing in the National Register that are:
1.) Associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
2.) Associated with the lives of significant persons in our past; or
3.) Embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
4.) Have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in history or prehistory.
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Also known as the Tallon House, this historic home in Jackson was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September of 1986 due to its structural integrity and the local importance of the man who built it, John A. Butterfield.
The home was built in 1873 and has a similar style of homes built in the Mother Lode in the 1850s, including a recessed entrance and French doors. The home also exhibits elements of Greek Revival architecture that were popular in the Southeastern US at the time, most notably the delicate columns and the baluster rails on the porch. These stylistic elements were rare in California, and there are only a few homes with these influences in the entire Mother Lode; the John A. Butterfield home is the only home in this style in Amador County. With the exception of a few small interior remodels to modernize the home in the 1940s, the home is largely unchanged and appears the same as it did in 1873.
John A. Butterfield came to California in 1851 from New Hampshire in search of gold. In 1855, he returned New Hampshire to get married to his sweetheart, and took her back to California that same year.
Butterfield owned a lumber mill in present-day Mace Meadows (formerly Buckhorn). In 1880, he purchased a carpenter shop and operated it as the J.A. Butterfield Planing Mill in Jackson until the late 1890s. Butterfield also engaged in gold mining ventures, but he was never as successful in gold mining as he was in lumber. He became a prominent member of the community when he was elected the County treasurer in 1873.
The same year he was elected treasurer, he purchased the lot where he would build his home for $300. Two years later, in 1875, a robbery at his home would change his standing in the community for the rest of his life: someone broke into his home, stole the key to the County safe, and stole $15,000 from the County. Butterfield was suspected as being involved in the incident, and though he was found innocent, he was forced to pay the money back to the County. His chanced for reelection were ruined, and he was shamed by his community. Forever scorned from local politics, Butterfield focused on his lumber endeavors until his death in the late 1890s.
The home remained in his family until 1919. Butterfield's widow left it to their daughter Gertrude Barton in 1906, and her husband sold it after her passing in 1919 to Cesare and Nelly Arditto. The Arditto's remained in the home until 1945 when they sold it to Harold and Grace Tallon. The Tallons sold it to the Farrells in 1982, and the home remains a private residence.
The Butterfield House serves as an excellent example of early California architecture in the Mother Lode, and displays a mix of styles. The home is significant both for its structural integrity and for the history of the man who built it.
The eastern slope of Amador County begins at Kirkwood’s historic stage stop. The relatively narrow county is aligned between the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers and roughly follows an important emigrant trail route. Amador County was once a rich gold mining county, and many of the county’s towns began as gold mining camps. The largest Native American grinding stone with 1,185 mortar holes and dozens of petroglyphs is in Amador County at the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, which also houses the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum. Amador County has a booming wine country with over 35 small wineries in the foothills.
Time Period Represented
This home is a private residence and is not open to the public.